Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 11 June 2008
COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY 12 JUNE 2008,
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Present: Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Billy Armstrong
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr David Ford
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr Peter Weir
In Attendance: Ms Patricia Casey (Assembly Clerk)
Mr William Long (Assistant Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Miss Lorraine McFarland (Clerical Officer)
Apologies: Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Samuel Gardiner
The meeting commenced in public session at 10.34.a.m.
Apologies are detailed above.
Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 5 June were agreed.
New Environment Minister:
The Chairperson extended the Committee’s congratulations to Sammy Wilson on his appointment as Environment Minister. The Chairperson also passed on the Committee’s appreciation to Arlene Foster for her work as Environment Minister and wished her well in her new role as Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.
Agreed: That Minister Wilson is invited to the Committee meeting on 3 July.
Invitation by DOE Permanent Secretary:
The Chairperson advised members that the proposed lunch with the DOE Permanent Secretary will now take place on 11 September.
Briefing on Provisional Outturn 2007/08:
The Chairperson informed members that the briefing by the DOE Permanent Secretary
on the provisional outturn 2007/2008 will now take place on either 26 June or 3 July.
Agreed: That the briefing is scheduled for the meeting on 3 July.
Mr Armstrong joined the meeting at 10.37a.m.
Rose Energy planning application:
The Chairperson informed members that the Committee office had now received 453
letters of support for the Rose Energy proposed power plant in Glenavy. A Clerks meeting has taken place to decide how to deal with any future letters.
Chairperson’s meeting with Fiona McKinley (Park Road and District Residents Association) on 15 May 2008:
The Chairperson updated members on a meeting he had with Fiona McKinly, Park Road and District Residents Association, regarding George Best Belfast City Airport.
Agreed: That information supplied by the Department for Regional Development is forwarded to Miss McKinley.
Briefing by Better Regulation and Simplification Review Panel
Representatives of the Better Regulation and Simplification Review Panel briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the ‘Panel Interim Report – May 2008’.
The main areas of discussion were the current extent of the burden on farmers and the food industry, EHS and staffing levels, European legislation and its implications, comparisons with the regimes in Scotland and Wales and the timeframe for the final report.
Departmental briefing on SL1 to amend legislation to increase taxi driver licence fees
Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the proposal to amend legislation to increase taxi driver licence fees.
The main areas of discussion were Access NI security clearance times, exchange of information between the DVA and the PSNI, notification of offences being passed to DVA by Court Service and the potential for the DVA to improve the flow of information.
Agreed: That the Department provide the Committee with a report on its contract with Access NI and how information is shared.
Agreed: That the Committee contacts other statutory committees to highlight their concerns on the issue of Access NI and the lack of exchange of information.
Agreed: That the Committee considered the proposal to amend legislation to increase taxi driver licence Fees and had no objections to the proposal.
Departmental briefing on Supplementary Planning Guidance (to PPS18) on Wind Energy Development in Northern Ireland’s landscapes
Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ on Supplementary Planning Guidance to PPS18 on wind energy development in Northern Ireland’s landscapes.
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 11.59a.m.
Mr Ford left the meeting at 11.59a.m.
The main areas of discussion were the height of wind turbines, the proximity of turbines to airports, renewable energy targets, EU regulations, restrictions on wind farms, the level of consultation with the wind energy industry the process for defining landscapes.
The Committee deliberated on its response to the Supplementary Planning Guidance consultation.
Agreed: That a response is sent to the Department as agreed by members.
SR 2008/321 – The Quality of Bathing Water Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2008
Question put and agreed:
That the Committee for the Environment has considered The Quality of Bathing Water Regulation (Northern Ireland) 2008 and, subject to the ESR Report, has no objection to the rule.
- Public Consultation Paper on Proposals to Restrict the Use of Lead Shot over Wetlands.
Agreed: That a synopsis of the responses to the consultation is requested.
- Members noted a letter introducing the Woodland Trust’s Document ‘Woodland Actions for Biodiversity and their role in Water Management’.
- Members noted a letter from the Quarry Products Association NI presenting its publication ‘Our Nature with Aggregates, A strategy to conserve and Enhance Biodiversity and Geodiversity for the Aggregates and Quarry Products Industry in Northern Ireland’.
- Letter from Lucia Wilson, Clerk for the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee re attached letter from Strabane District Council referring to two issues of air quality and fuel poverty.
Agreed: That a copy of this letter is forwarded to the Department for comment on air quality.
- Members noted a letter from the Minister updating the Committee on recent developments concerning the recovery and recycling of non-packaging farm plastic waste (NPFP).
- Letter to the Chairperson from the Craigmore and Randalstown Environmental Group re planning application no. T/2001/051/F, requesting the opportunity to discuss specific community issues arising from this proposal with the Committee.
Agreed: That an update on this issue is requested from the Planning Service.
- Members noted a departmental response to the Committee request for more information on PPS 14 – Emerging Findings Paper (definition of clachan).
- Members noted a newsletter from Environmental Protection UK and Advice Matters. .
- Members noted a letter from the Minister to the Chairperson regarding Carbon Reduction Commitment briefing (CRC).
- Members noted a letter from the Department for Transport re Public Consultation document on EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval – Proposed Approval Schemes, Technical Requirements and Fee Levels.
- Letter from Philip Bartram, Property Communications Manager, ASDA, Welcoming the ‘Programme for Government’ announced by the Assembly and its plans for further reform of the planning system.
Agreed: That details of EHS and Planning Service are passed to Mr Bartram.
- Members noted a letter from BWEA thanking the Committee for the opportunity to make a presentation at the Thursday 15th May meeting
- Members noted a departmental response to the Sustrans presentation made to the Committee on the 22nd May 2008.
- Members noted a departmental response to the Environment Committee on Local Government Pension Scheme Regulations.
- Members noted a departmental Consultation Paper on the Control of Advertisement Regulations.
- Members noted an invitation to the Committee from the Anna Lo, MBE, MLA and the Facts, Fears & Feelings Project to attended the Launch of ‘Sectarianism and Segregation in Urban Northern Ireland: Northern Irish Youth Post-Agreement’.
- Members noted a copy of an Adjournment Debate on 3rd June 2008, Proposed Chicken Waste Plant at Glenavy
- Memo from Clerk of Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure asking the Committee to forward the attached letter re World Heritage bid for Derry City walls to the Minister of the Environment.
Agreed: That a copy of the Memo is forwarded to the Minister.
- Letter from Monaghan County Council requesting the opportunity to attend the meeting in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh, to put forward their views on the North South Interconnector.
Agreed: That Monaghan County Council are invited to the Committee meeting on 19 June.
- Members noted a letter from Brendan Mulgrew, Airtricity, providing details of current wind farm planning applications.
- Members noted an e-mail from Osvaldo Mauro-Hun regarding power plants in England/Scotland.
Members noted the following Publications and Press Releases:
- Environmental Protection Newsletter June 2008.
- Advice Matters Newsletter Spring 2008.
- Consultation On New Vehicle Construction Requirements.
- Minister Gildernew Launches Agri-Environment Scheme.
- Foster Opens RSPB Seabird on Rathlin Island.
- Nutts Corner Couple Fined £1,400 for Enforcement Breach.
- Newry Farmer Fined £1,750 for Illegal Disposal of Republic of Ireland Waste.
- Environment Minister ‘Sorts It Out’ With Waste Education.
Any Other Business
Agreed: That Committee research papers and Committee responses to consultations are published on the Assembly internet site.
Committee visit to Armagh:
The Chairperson informed members that as there were four briefings at the meeting in Armagh on 19 June it was proposed that the meeting start earlier than normal.
Agreed: That the meeting commence at 10.15a.m. and that the Departmental briefing on Rivers Basin Management Plan is moved to the meeting on 26 June.
Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 19 June 2008 at 10.15am in Workshop 2, Market Place Theatre, Armagh.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.38p.m.